In Memory of Chef

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For South Park fans like us, the sudden and unexpected departure of Isaac Hayes, the voice of Chef, was a major blow--after all, the jolly cafeteria worker's off-color songs and sage advice have made for some of the show's most memorable moments over the years. And it just doesn't make sense that after so many seasons of carefree mockery, Hayes would decide that South Park's ridicule of various religious persuasions was prohibitively offensive...right?

The unbelievable news sent rumors flying about what really happened to Chef: Did Scientologists persuade Hayes to leave the show, or even bypass him entirely and quit for him? Did the nefarious Tom Cruise have something to do with the cancellation of a repeat episode of South Park? Can Trey Parker and Matt Stone win a "million-year war" against the controversial religion? The answers, for now, remain unclear, but Chef's final goodbye was anything but. March 22's episode, "The Return of Chef," gave the beloved character a violent and extended death scene in which he fell from a broken bridge, was burned alive by a stroke of lightning while impaled on a sharp branch, and was then mauled by a grizzly bear and a mountain lion. A hint of hope glimmered during the Darth- Vader-style resurrection scene, but it seems safe to say that Chef as we knew him is gone for good. You'll find a complete recap and information on how to download the episode from iTunes right here!

So, in an act of final respect and remembrance, we offer you some clips of our favorite Chef memories. Check out the flash player on the upper right side of the screen. Watch, enjoy, and please check out some news articles if you need more info on the past weeks' events. When you're through, use the Comments box to post your own favorite Chef moments, and we'll see if we can dig up some clips of those, too.

Goodbye, Chef--we'll miss you!

It's South Park versus Scientology!
Cartoon that lampoons just about everybody sticks to its guns.

Chef gets cooked on South Park opener
Season premiere of animated series gleefully skewers Isaac Hayes and Scientology.

South Park reaps reward of public strife
Ratings for 10th-season premiere are best in years.

Isaac Hayes quit South Park all by himself
Ex-Chef says Scientology did not make him get out of the kitchen.

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